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Spalletti: Hulk key for Zenit at Porto

On the night Hulk returned to FC Porto, FC Zenit boss Luciano Spalletti credited the striker with inspiring their 1-0 win while Paulo Fonseca praised the home side's efforts with ten men.

Hulk shoots for goal against former team-mate Helton
Hulk shoots for goal against former team-mate Helton ©AFP/Getty Images

Luciano Spalletti, Zenit coach
It was a very difficult game. Though we played against ten men [for 84 minutes] it was even and we had to put in a lot of effort. But what was important about this game is that we managed to produce a balanced display and created many chances. It is a pity we did not take them all. At the same time we avoided dangerous chances in front of our goal – we hardly allowed them to create anything.

After the red card Porto played a clever tactical game. They went 4-3-2 with two wide strikers who pressed against our full-back and did not allow them to launch attacks. So our wing backs didn't really get forward and we needed that attacking impetus. We also failed to put in any diagonals – we didn't switch the ball from side to side to stretch them, to make them run, and that made life easier for them.

Paulo Fonseca, Porto coach
We were facing a very good team who wanted to get some points here, but the red card changed everything, even though I think we played a good game with ten men. The applause [from the crowd] despite our loss proves that we played well – the fans understand that, they know the players did all they could.

Licá and Jackson [Martínez] made a huge effort after the red card. Licá got tired, that's why I brought on [Silvestre] Varela when I did. We can get the win there [on 6 November] – and after what I saw tonight, I truly believe we can get through to the next round.

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